As any busy Warrior Goddess knows, snatching a calm moment to yourself (let alone a second to OMMM) is beyond challenging. But Mariah Perkins of The Quiet Melon is on a mission to make Zen time way more accessible and enjoyable.
A native of Park City, Utah, Perkins grew up frolicking in her huge backyard, raised by natural food-enthusiast parents; when she had trouble sleeping, her mother would guide her through quiet meditations. When she moved to LA, a career in dance ensured Perkins was always surrounded by fitness and wellness early on. So, when she transitioned to a corporate job in fashion, she found the desk-meets-cubicle environment stressful and unhealthy. A yoga certification helped ease her mental and physical pain, and during this time, she also started helping her fashion friends find moments to meditate.
From that seed, Perkins found the perfect blend of all her passions, and in early 2015 she opened The Quiet Melon, an innovative meditation and yoga company, offering private coaching, workspace sessions and tailored options. SBS chatted with the practical practitioner about bringing some useful—and enjoyable!—quiet into your life.
SBS: What does The Quiet Melon offer?
Mariah Perkins: The Quiet Melon is built on the idea of Quiet Minds and loud hearts. We want to make meditation and yoga accessible, practical and worthwhile—for everyone!
So, we have a variety of options for every situation. I have a show with Dash Radio so listeners can tune in from around the world for 10-minute meditations on the hour—for free. I also coach clients, including nutritional coaching since I’m certified. I feel adamant that it’s all connected, so we will do meditation, yoga, wellness coaching and nutrition in one. I also do straight meditation sessions privately. Finally, we are engaged with corporate wellness in a variety of ways, from partnering with brands for initiatives to workshops and sessions within corporate settings. I love infiltrating spaces that don’t already have wellness in them!
Within any of the sessions, I use everything from Buddhist Zen ideas and breath awareness to meditative movement. Depending on the customer’s needs, I also might blend in dance or stretching, because moving can release emotions and tension that have been stagnant after a day of sitting. It’s all really tailored to the specific person or group and that particular day, which makes it more effective, I think, than a set system that may not be appropriate in that instance.
SBS: Why do big events like engagements or baby showers cause so much stress? How does meditation help in these situations?
MP: Those big days present a lot of pressure in the expectation that is has to be the perfect day, perfect moment, perfect experience or the most important day of your life. We all know life is life, and a lot of times it doesn’t always go the way you’d like. But regardless, we still have this need to control everything. It’s heightened, and we can build things up in our mind.
We can release those expectations, though, and meditation can help! It can even serve as a reference point. For example, we can have expectations during meditation, like comparing today to your practice yesterday. But, in meditation, you can practice releasing control to focus on staying in the moment. Stay present and work with whatever is coming up. Then you will enjoy your shower, your engagement or whatever it is as you pay attention to each moment instead of leaping into the big picture all the time.
SBS: Why do you think meditation has become more prominent in mainstream culture recently?
MP: I think it’s twofold: Now, it’s not just that people are saying meditation makes them feel better; scientific research is actually backing it up and agreeing, too. More and more studies are coming out, and as they do, people are paying more attention. Also we are so digitally consumed and connected, people are really stressed out. There’s so much pressure externally, so people are feeling more anxiety and then desperately want to connect internally to be grounded. So, meditation is absolutely essential in today’s world.
SBS: What’s the biggest misconception about meditation?
MP: It doesn’t have to look like any one thing! Meditation can come in many forms. It doesn’t have to be 20 minutes in morning and night. There are ways you can find to make it work for you and your schedule. That was really the original idea for my business, even: I wanted to make sure I didn’t present it as another obligation. We’re already so bombarded with countless things we should do. But if you can build it into schedule in a way that’s organic and feels good, that’s a success, and you’ll actually follow through. You can’t not do it right! It took me six months to feel like I kind of understood what was going on, but it’s just consistent practice, and each time is valuable.
You’re rewiring your brain, so be really gentle with yourself. It’s not another thing you have to do or that you should beat yourself up about! Hopefully it’s a positive practice in your life and connects you with yourself. Spend time with you. Approach it with love, compassion, curiosity and exploration. There doesn’t have to be an end goal. And if you lose your way, just come back to the breath. Whatever you’re focusing on, whether it’s a mantra, a candle, etc., if you drift, bring yourself back with compassion and grace.
If you’re having a freak-out at your desk, try this:
- If you can, remove yourself from the situation. Find a bathroom, hallway or car to be by yourself.
- Close your eyes, take three deep breaths and feel your feet grounded on the floor. Imagine yourself connected to the physical earth. Concentrate on your breath: Inhale to the count of the four, exhale to count of four, slowing down the breath.
- If you’re having a really bad day, perhaps add a mantra or affirmation phrase like ‘I am calm’ or ‘I am ok,’ releasing the negativity and returning to your center.
- Also, breathe into your heart. Imagine someone or something you’re grateful for that lights you up inside to connect to joy and gratitude.
A BEAUTIFUL BRIDE ON THE VERGE OF BECOMING BRIDEZILLA? MARIAH SAYS:
Have a consistent practice. Five minutes in the morning allows you to settle in and listen to your voice. Try to hear what it’s telling you about why you’re stressed out. Then you can handle that more calmly. Take that time in the morning as your own special time so you can actually enjoy the process!
BASIC MEDIATION APPROACHES EXPLAINED BY MARIAH:
- Zen: Uses a central focus on the breath, including the tactile movement and sensation of the breath through nasal breathing. It also concentrates on focusing on one point, the breath, a candle, or a single focus. Body alignment and posture is important, as stability in the body helps to create stability in the mind.
- Meditative Breath: Focuses on the breath and uses different breathing techniques to relax the mind and release tension.
- Meditative Movement: Mindful movement with walking, yoga flow and dance, helping people become internally and externally aware of the body.
- Mantra: Repeating different mantras and affirmations for clarity, manifestation, alignment, focus and perspective changes.
MARIAH’S SBS MANTRA:
My favorite is Be You! It reminds me to be true to myself, my voice and my vision! We are amazing, infinite beings and need to remember that. There is only one of you, so you might as well be your highest self!